Nehru's Vision, Tata's Will: How India Got Lakme From Lakshmi
Nehru asked JRD Tata to build a cosmetic brand for Indian women keeping in mind their skin tone and other needs. JRD Tata launched Lakme, a subsidiary of Tata Oil Mills in 1952. The inspiration behind the name Lakme for India's first-ever cosmetic brand came from none other than the goddess Lakshmi.
All About India's First Cosmetic BrandLakme: Not many know that it was Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru who came up with the idea of building a cosmetic brand as he was concerned that the women post-independence were dependent on foreign beauty products for their daily needs. Nehru asked JRD Tata to build a cosmetic brand for Indian women keeping in mind their skin tone and other needs. Eventually, JRD Tata launched Lakme, a subsidiary of Tata Oil Mills in 1952.
The inspiration behind the name Lakme for India's first-ever cosmetic brand came from none other than the goddess Lakshmi. Interesting, a team representing the Tata Group was sent to Paris to come up with the name for the brand after brainstorming with their French counterparts. Coincidently, the team met Leo Delibes, a famous French composer. Delibes was playing in an Opera which was centred around a female protagonist, an Indian girl who was named after the Indian goddess of wealth and prosperity. The team instantly knew that they had found the brand’s name. Lakme was inspired from the French translation of the Indian goddess Lakshmi and it aptly symbolised the beauty in an Indian context.
How Lakme Became A Symbol Of Beauty In India
The brand was launched in 1952 and expanded very quickly as it adhered to the requirements of Indian women. Gradually, the brand became a household name and it was particularly more popular among urban women. After Simone Tata took over Lakme as managing director in 1961, the brand witnessed some drastic changes that took it to greater heights.
She changed the product prices and the brand's positioning, and Lakme quickly became a household name in India. She was appointed Chairperson of the firm in 1982.
The Story Of Lakme Girl
The brand spent a lot on advertisements in newspapers and magazines. Lakme came up with the idea of making a model -- the face of the brand-- for digital advertising. Lakme hired Shyamoli Verma, a popular model at the time for their ads. The advertisement became so popular that Shyamoli Verma was widely known as "the Lakme girl".
Several top Bollywood actresses have been associated with the brand including Rekha, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, and Kareena Kapoor.
With time, Lakme has grown into one of India’s leading cosmetics brands. Lakme divested its 50 percent stake in the joint venture and sold its brands to Hindustan Unilever in 1998.